Finding The Balance: Managing Priorities And Cultivating Leadership At West Point

Marcus Cox II


Marcus Cox II grew up in North Carolina. His father was a banker who now works for Starbucks, and his mother is a data analyst. His life revolved around family, faith, and sports when he was growing up, and he lived close to his extended family. Growing up, he knew that he wanted to go to college and serve, and an uncle who taught ROTC recommended West Point. Prior to entering the Military Academy, Marcus attended the Prep School, and played football on their squad. Once he was admitted to West Point, he decided to focus on academics instead of sports. He initially struggled because he tried to do everything himself, but once he realized he needed teamwork and the support of others to succeed, he became more successful. He also found a support network in the Cultural Affairs Seminar. He enjoyed the leadership opportunities West Point offered, and learned that he could develop himself and others even in jobs that were not considered “leadership positions.” When the COVID-19 pandemic began, he had to change his plans for taking a cruise, and instead went to his girlfriend’s parent’s house in Kansas. He enjoyed his time there, but as the crisis grew, he returned home to North Carolina so he could be closer to family. He felt that his instructors developed good plans for distance learning, and he was able to complete his education, maintain his physical fitness, and help his family all at the same time. After graduation, he is looking forward to training as an Infantry Officer (branch detailed from Signal Corps) and serving at Ft. Hood. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his family, and his West Point experiences. He discusses the friends he made at the Academy and how they helped each other succeed. He comments on the positive culture of his company and West Point, but provides an example of racism he experienced in a social media group chat, and explains how he dealt with the issue. Finally, he reflects on what West Point means to him.


name Marcus Cox II
institution USMA
graduation year 2020
service Infantry / Signal Corps
service dates 2020